News from The Law Society’s Northern office
Read the latest on Brexit
Catch up with the latest on Brexit as it continues through Parliament.
Read more here.
Read the latest Law Society Parliamentary briefing for MPs here.
Campaign for legal aid early advice gets underway
The Law Society is campaigning for legal aid to be re-introduced for early legal advice, particularly in family and housing law.
Unfortunately, most areas of free or subsidised early legal advice were stopped by the government in 2012. This has meant that people who can’t afford to pay for early legal advice are now left to address their problems alone – meaning that simple problems can get worse, and can create other unnecessary costs for the taxpayer.
Watch our video and download our report on the benefits of early advice here.
Changes to domestic violence legal aid are welcomed
News the government is to relax legal aid restrictions for domestic violence victims has been welcomed. The government’s decision will make it easier for victims to provide evidence and to qualify for legal aid.
This positive decision is the result of work the Law Society and other organisations have been doing with the Ministry of Justice MoJ for many months.
Read the article in full here and our article in the Gazette here.
Flexible operating hours pilot – The Law Society’s response
The Law Society has responded to the HM Courts & Tribunal Service (HMCTS) prospectus seeking views on its flexible operating hours pilots.
Read the full response here
Consultation Paper responses
Individual Accountability: Extending the Senior Managers & Certification Regime to all FCA firms
The Society has responded to the FCA’s consultation on Individual Accountability: Extending the Senior Managers & Certification Regime (SM&CR) to all FCA firms.
The Law Society remains strongly of the view that the legal function should be excluded from the scope of the SM&CR. In its response, the Law Society reiterates that including the legal function within the Senior Managers regime raises significant risks for clients and solicitors.
Read our full response
Law Commission consultation on making a will
The Law Society has responded to a wide-ranging consultation from the Law Commission on reforming laws around making a will.
The consultation explores a number of issues, including aligning the test for testamentary capacity with that in the Mental Capacity Act 2005, empowering courts to give legal effect to wills where formality rules have not been strictly followed, and the role of electronic wills.
Read our full response
DCLG consultation on planning for housing
The Law Society has responded to a DCLG consultation, ‘Planning for the right homes in the right places’. The consultation sought views on a range of proposals, including on a standard method for calculating local authorities’ housing need, a statement of common ground (to work alongside the Duty to Co-operate), and improving the use of viability assessments.
ESMA draft technical advice consultation
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published a consultation seeking views on its draft technical advice in relation to the format and content of the prospectus, base prospectus and final terms.
It welcomed the fact that ESMA has given significant thought to the consultation, and noted that while the new regime will bring numerous changes to the prospectus format and content, most of these changes are incremental improvements (as a matter of law).
Flexible Operating Hours Prospectus
The Law Society has responded to HM Courts & Tribunal Service (HMCTS) prospectus seeking views on its flexible operating hours pilots.
SRA consultation ‘Looking to the future: better information, more choice’ – Law Society response
The consultation makes a number of proposals, including a new requirement that solicitor firms should be required to publish price and service information on their websites for certain areas of law relating to individuals and small business customers.
It is important that clients can make informed decisions about the solicitors they choose, and they need to have the right information at the right time. However, clients have very different legal needs, and legal services are complex. Simply requiring more information to be published on websites is unlikely to result in people making more informed choices.
SRA consultation ‘Looking to the future: phase two of our Handbook reforms’ – Law Society response
The Law Society is concerned about the impact of some of these proposals on the profession and clients. We take the view that flexibility for solicitors should not come at the expense of client protections.
‘Looking to the future: phase two of our Handbook reforms’
Following the first Looking to the future consultation in summer 2016, the SRA are now consulting on further changes to their Handbook and their proposed revised Enforcement Strategy. This consultation also includes the transitional arrangements for the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).
Submission deadline 20 December 2018
Looking to the future: better information, more choice
The SRA are now consulting on publishing more of the regulatory data they hold about solicitors and firms they regulate. They are also consulting on asking these solicitors and firms to publish more information on the legal services they provide.
Submission deadline 20 December 2018
ADR and Civil Justice
Civil Justice Council is now seeking written submissions on the findings and recommendations of the report, ahead of organising a seminar at which the proposals can be discussed, and a final report prepared and submitted to the Government for consideration.
Submission deadline 15 December 2018
Improving the home buying and selling process: call for evidence – Department for Communities and Local Government
The Government is committed to improving the existing home buying and selling process to make it cheaper, faster and less stressful.
The Government is seeking views and suggestions for improvement of the home buying and selling process from anyone who has an interest in the process, in order to make it cheaper, faster and less stressful.
Responses to this call for evidence will help the government to formulate its future work programme of improvements.
Submission deadline 17 December 2017
Recovering the costs of the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS): fees proposals – Financial Conduct Authority
In March 2017 the Government announced its intention to create OPBAS within the FCA, from where it will oversee the adequacy of the anti-money laundering (AML) supervisory arrangements of the 22 professional body AML supervisors listed in Schedule 1 of the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (the MLRs).
This consultation sets out the FCA’s proposals for recovering the costs of running OPBAS from the bodies it will supervise.
The proposals cover:
• Application fees for reviewing and processing applications received from professional bodies who wish to be added to the list of professional body supervisors in Schedule 1 to the MLRs.
• A structure for periodic fees to recover the annual costs of supervision.
The FCA invites comments on the data sources and definitions it is proposing as a basis for distributing cost recovery fairly between the professional body supervisors. It is not consulting on the periodic fee rates for 2018/19 at this stage.
Submission deadline 8 January 2018
Law Commission Sentencing Code
The Law Commission is consulting on the introduction of a single sentencing statute that will act as the comprehensive source of sentencing law– the “Sentencing Code”.
Submission deadline 26 January 2018
Find out more
For further information regarding any of the consultations please contact Catherine O’Gallachoir, Legal and Regulatory Policy – Catherine.O’Gallachoir@lawsociety.org.uk